Assistant Editor’s Log
By Auburn Mann
Justice, a powerful word, simply defined as “the quality of being fair and reasonable in the treatment of people or in making decisions,” but it is a word that is difficult to carry out.
Applying the bare facts to the already established law and policies can either have the existing policy upheld or question the validity of the already established law. This is the epitome of justice, yet, it still is far too often neglected or manipulated in many situations in life to accommodate the desires of human’s selfish nature , making this simple concept a rarity in legitimate practice.
The fact that historically black colleges and universities remain haunted by the sins of America’s founding fathers gradually perishing effects of American slavery, with huge discrepancies in funding between many HBCUs, and their predominantly white counterparts is one key example. The State of Maryland’s HBCUs: Morgan State, Coppin State, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and, of course, Bowie State, have filed a lawsuit against the state of Maryland for $ 2.1 billion to provide compensation for generations of neglect and being undervalued when the Maryland University System was segregated.
Even when the circumstance demands use of the law to protect constituents, instead of implementing justice for all of society, it protects those who often times are associated with those who hold power while oppressing others, foregoing the legal process where situation takes precedence over the moral principle.
In the case of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African-American boy who was gunned down by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, after being tagged with behaving suspiciously in a neighborhood in suburban Orlando, where the teenager was walking home to a relative’s house with a hoodie on, and confronted, which eventually resulted in Martin receiving a bullet in the chest, and Zimmerman not even being charged for murder or even initially taken into custody.
Thanks to generations of psychologically indoctrinating media content dealing with the negativity and danger, even the inferiority of blacks, this explains the current societal status quo to justify automatic suspicion and self defense or even blatant attacks on young black men.
Unfortunately, this constant marginalization and cultural conditioning has even led to a greater injustice of crime black youth are suffering from each other. With the recent case in Sanford, Fla., I won’t even pretend to know the entirety of parameters involved in the predicament, but I do realize that certain routine legal procedures were missing from this episode, depriving all parties of their rights to due process of law.
From Trayvon Martin, one of the latest in a way too extensive list that includes Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and Rodney King beating to the1954 horrific kidnapping and mutilation of 14-year-old Emmitt Till from Chicago for allegedly flirting with a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi, and the thousands of other cases that are unsung, all are legal and constitutional contradictions to this country’s promise for equal protection of all citizens under the law.
This protection is at the core of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which in itself was only really an overdue semi -realization of an earlier profession through the person of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence’s most renowned line “We hold all these things to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are; Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
As I write, marches, protest demonstrations, and discussions are being held across the country in the wake of Trayvon’s death. Protesters are civilly asserting a demand for a prosecution of Zimmerman and have all the facts objectively analyzed in a court of law to bring proper due process of law to this case.
The four HBCUs of Maryland, that are suing the state for these discrepancies in funding between them and their mainstream counterparts have recently finished the trial, and currently remain in anticipation for the final verdict to be resolved early this summer.
Justice has been compromised and/or delayed but never absolutely and forever forsaken.